Two groups of people most commonly come to my blog with a bone to pick. I’ve said it before: Anyone who comes out of an argument with me and is still convinced of their own opinion simply wasn’t listening. This holds especially true for antitheists and apatheists.
I think it’s clear that a group of atheists have gone beyond the position of disbelief in God. Dawkins and a host of other atheistic fundamentalists are trying to rally the troops against the “evil” of religion. In their mind, it’s an all-out war between rationalism and superstition, between science and religion.
They’re idiots if they think they can win. Aside from the fact that they’re in an elite minority, they’re also poor students of history. So many have attempted to wipe out religion in the last century, especially in the name of Nazism, Communism and Marxism, to no avail. Christianity in particular was forged in the fires of persecution and martyrdom and is only refined and tempered stronger in the face of opposition.
But that doesn’t negate the fact that antitheists [for how can we call them mere atheists if they say they don't believe in God and yet actively oppose those who do?] are becoming more vocal in attacks on religion, especially Christianity. In fact, some are spending more time on publications which attack God and religion than they do on writing about actual science, which causes one to wonder if their science is so impartial after all! It also suggests that they have no intention of just following science where it leads. They have a vested interest in a purely naturalistic outcome and they are willing to shout down anyone who tries to voice another opinion.
Of course, my initial reaction has been: Is that all you got?
Dawkins, in particular, proves over and again that he has no grasp of the theist’s position and has a particular bias against the Christian religion. It’s like listening to a middle school student rail against God [both in quality of rhetoric and in level of maturity], yet it is Dawkins who rails that we need to grow up and give up our superstitions.
On the other hand, we have a good number of professing “agnostics,” who, far from the traditional position of skepticism [that we can never know if God exists or not, having not enough evidence] have really just shrugged their shoulders over the entire question and said, “Don’t know. Don’t care.” They won’t even consider the evidence, so contrarian is their cynicism about truth. Yet they’re certain we can never know these things for sure! They refuse to fight, except to demand that it’s pointless to discuss the matter. They demand a ceasefire in the name of ambiguity. Instead, we should just ignore questions which have vital bearing on how we live our lives, make scientific and rational inquiry and [if we Christian theists are correct] have eternal consequence!
In any case, they are there: Antitheists shouting down all opposition with cries of “There is no science but naturalism and Darwin is its prophet!” and having little of substance to say other than glib demands that there is no God, that evolution is now somehow a fact despite all evidence to the contrary and that nothing a theist or deist says is true. Apatheists who stick their head in the sand except to protest the argument itself.
What should Christendom do about these two strange and pernicious creatures? I mean, it’s tempting just to write them off as Jabberwockies and Fearsome Critters. They make a lot of noise, each for their various purposes, but they both lack substance. Their bark is pretty loud [and consistent], but they’re trying to gum us to death! In fact, the only damage they can do [like Fearsome Critters] is if we start taking their claims and arguments seriously!
If we entertain the apatheist’s argument that everyone has a right to an opinion so all opinions are more less as valid, we start spinning our wheels in a quagmire of relativity. Pretty much everyone has an opinion, just as pretty much everyone has a nose. Like noses, most of these opinions smell. Everybody has a right to their opinion, but not everybody’s opinion is right. After all, there are folks who are of the opinion that that Philadelphia Eagles will win the Superbowl, that they will win the lottery with their next ticket, that they can act, that the Holocaust never happened and that the Earth is flat: and most of them are wrong!
Right and wrong, truth and error all exist. God either exists or He doesn’t. If He might, it’s in our best interest to investigate whether it’s probable and what this God might expect of us! Complacency and apathy will be no excuse when you stand before the Throne of the One who gave you intellectual capacity and rational curiosity!
In order to entertain the antitheist’s malignant argument [that all religion is evil], we have to put on our dogmatic blinders and ignore all of the good religion has been responsible for. Some Christians, in particular, spend all of their time apologizing for past and present hypocrisies. But in order to entertain their argument, we have to paint the stained-glass window of religious doctrine and history black, ignoring the actual hue and brilliant color religion actually contains. I must a priori decide that religion is evil. A common objection to God is the existence of evil and suffering. Antitheists paint God as a cruel and selfish tyrant in light of these problems. But they fail to take into account also the existence of pleasure and good. How do they account for these and for the comprehensibility of the universe? If it is ordered by natural selection, where did this ordering mechanism come from?
In order to entertain the antitheist’s benign argument [all religions are false], we have to either investigate them all [they don't] or a priori decide all religions are false because we now have science and religion and religious truth came about before scientific inquiry. At the least, by this definition, religion would contain spurious information in differing amounts. In these cases, religious truth would be trumped by scientific knowledge [nevermind that science is constantly changing and therefore may come to change its mind about what it differs with religious truth over]. The underlying assumption here is that no religious truth has come about by supernatural revelation, but is rather [like scientific truth] a product of man’s intellect. The argument is generally voiced that religious truth [as superstition] was man’s early, less sophisticated and less informed attempts to understand the universe and may be likened to childhood or adolescence, while scientific rationalism represents a more adult and informed view of the world. The again presumes that man has always just tried to hammer it out on his own and that God has never given him further revelation [i.e. -- the Bible]. The Bible contains an improbable degree of historical, geographical, historical and prophetically accurate information, however they disregard it out-of-hand since its truth would negate their presuppositions.
In order to entertain the antitheist’s demands [that science exclude the possibility of God's existence], we must a priori decide that the supernatural equates with superstition, especially indoctrinated superstition. This dog don’t hunt. This reasoning might fly if children raised in theism stayed theists [the power of indoctrination held] or if theistic children shook off said indoctrination in their maturity, but it does not take into account rational atheists who become theists in their middle and later years. We must also decide that there is no science outside pure naturalism, instead of following the evidence where it leads even if it points to God.
The antitheist’s argument is both bad rhetoric and even worse science. They’re trying to assign authority to bias by pure force of volume alone.
We can’t entertain their arguments.
Can we ignore them? No, unfortunately, we must answer them or else they will suppose they cannot be answered or, worse, that they are right. But we need not answer each objection individually or head down every rabbit trail.
Remember: Apatheists only argue that we shouldn’t argue, and base that on the idea that there is no absolute truth except that there is no absolute truth. They’re a contradiction of logic. Antitheists argue that we should exclude one voice from the conversation because its not true based on the presupposition that its not true. They also argue with these blinders one, which makes it easy to negate their argument by asking them about their objection’s polar complement. [Suffering: why is there pleasure? evil: why is there good? religion causes harm: religion benefits, et cetera].